Attitudes from the Editor
This year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was by most reckonings a big success for the industry. In an economic and political period plagued by uncertainty, CES actually drew record attendance. During Dealerscope's annual Editorial Advisory Board breakfast, held during CES, both retailers and manufacturers had mixed responses to the current state of our business. The holiday selling season was OK, they reported; it could have been worse, it could have been better. CES looked good for all, though, as most manufacturers found high-quality attendees ready to do business, while the retailers were generally satisfied with the results of their manufacturer meetings. But there is still much progress to be made. American consumers are being careful about their spending; there are demographics that need more attention and technological hurdles to be overcome.
Other recent good news was word that the country's cable providers and TV manufacturers have agreed to HDTV-cable-ready televisions with Point-of-Deployment (POD) interfaces. Hopefully, by the end of this year, a customer will be able to walk into your store, buy an HD cable-ready TV, connect it to his/her cable line at home and watch HDTV over cable. When it happens, it will be huge for HDTV dealers — assuming more cable companies make HD programming (and lots of it) available.
Even without cable's strong support, DTV sales aren't doing so badly. CEA recently released totals for 2002: 2,487,502 units (both HDTV integrated sets and HDTV monitors) were sold factory-to-dealer, surpassing 2001 sales by 71 percent in units and 61 percent in dollars. Sales of separate HDTV set-top boxes hit 165,000 in 2002, a 38 percent increase over the previous year.